French Proverbs

Enjoy dozens of witty and insightful French proverbs and idioms that have been passed down from one generation to the next for hundreds of years!

  • Every evil comes to us on wings and goes away limping.
  • Who spits against the wind, spits in his own face.
  • One flower will not make a garland.
  • Who is angry must be pleased again.
  • Save a thief from the gallows and he will cut your throat.
  • The sign of wisdom is a continual cheerfulness.
  • Don’t bark if you can’t bite.
  • A year of snow, a year of plenty.
  • Write injuries in sand, kindnesses in marble.
  • Who never climbed, never fell.
  • A bad bush is better than an open field.
  • He that goes a-borrowing, goes a-sorrowing.
  • Tell me with whom you go, and I’ll tell what you do.
  • Ill seed, ill weed.
  • Every flow has its ebb.
  • The eye of the master does more than both his hands.
  • All is not lost that is delayed.
  • When we cannot get what we love, we must love what is within our reach.
  • In too much discourse, truth is lost.
  • One bee makes no swarm.
  • A lie travels round the world while truth is putting her boots on.
  • A ragged colt may make a good horse.
  • Wait until it is night before saying that is has been a fine day.
  • There is no pillow so soft as a clear conscience.
  • And old rat is a brave rat.
  • A late Easter, a long cold spring.
  • A summer’s sun is worth the having.
  • A black hen lays a white egg.
  • One beggar at the door is enough.
  • One turn serves another.
  • Men count up the faults of those who keep them waiting.
  • A father is a banker provided by nature.
  • A bad sheerer never had a good sickle.
  • Report makes mischiefs greater than they need to be.
  • Fortune helps him that’s willing to help himself.
  • Life is half spent before one knows what life is.
  • A teacher stands in fear of teaching.
  • Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.
  • Nothing is as burdensome as a secret.
  • What can’t be cured must be endured.
  • A dry cough is the trumpeter of death.
  • A young doctor brings a green churchyard.
  • A white Christmas fills the churchyard.
  • A good lawyer, a bad neighbor.
  • Love makes time pass; time makes love pass.
  • He that asks what he should not, hears what he would not.
  • A hedge between keeps friendships green.
  • The end of passion is the beginning of repentance.
  • The cart leads the horse; the young instruct the old.
  • It’s all very well in practice, but it will never work in theory.

For thousands more proverbs and words of wisdom, collected from over 40 countries, check out Proverbs from Around the World!

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